A Toffee-nosed attitude or a sign of the times at Norwich Cty?

Norwich against Everton in the 80s - not Spud Thornhill's favourite fixture. Picture: Archant

Norwich against Everton in the 80s - not Spud Thornhill's favourite fixture. Picture: Archant - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

Spud’s teaser: There was a Norwich City ‘first’ when the Canaries met Bristol City on August 31, 1965. What was it?

When I was growing up and watching the mighty Norwich City in the 1980s, I had eyes for only one team and that was the green and yellow wizards. I went to many games where it didn’t matter how it was done, we just had to win.

But there were times when the away team had the audacity to come to Carrow Road and win. In my eyes they were not the best team. They were cheats, time wasters and basically very lucky to leave Carrow Road with the points.

The worst club of all for that were Everton. My affection for them was never the greatest – the way they laid down to allow Coventry to stuff them so they could stay up at our expense and we were relegated in 1985. I still remember crying my eyes out as a 10-year-old. Or the time, just two years later, when they won the title at Carrow Road and their fans celebrated by running on to the pitch.

They had players like Graeme Sharp and Peter Reid who did the damage by either scoring or kicking people. Then there was skipper Kevin Ratcliffe and keeper Neville Southall. They would do anything to waste time. Time after time Ratcliffe would pass it back to Southall – this was before the back pass rule. Everton were great when it came to wasting time.

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There was many times when I felt Everton cheated their way to a result. I have memories of a dodgy penalty for Everton in November 1988. And that was before beating us in the FA Cup semi-final. So you can see I didn’t really have much warmth for the Toffees.

But as I’ve got older, I look back at that Everton side of the 80s and 90s and I have a lot of respect for them. They had a lot of quality players, including the four I have mentioned and with Colin Harvey playing an important part behind their success of the 80s when he was coach before becoming manager. They played each game to benefit them and not the spectators – they made sure they got the points.

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The reason I’ve brought this up is in light of our last two leagues, against Burton Albion and Sheffield United.

Before the Burton game I predicted a tough game following the 5-0 defeat at Leeds. Sadly I was right.

After the final whistle, I was really disappointed, but unlike when I was younger, I gave a lot of praise to Burton Albion for their performance and especially their manager Nigel Clough’s game plan. After conceding five just three days earlier, his main objective was not to concede. They defended superbly.

There was a great match photo in the Evening News the following day of five Burton players surrounding Wes Hoolahan. To me this photo summed up the game. It summed up the respect Burton gave Norwich.

After the game there were many comments towards Burton on social media by some Norwich fans that I found bizarre. They were criticising Burton’s style of football. Little did they know we would have the roles reversed at Bramall Lane.

Following our two previous away days at Aston Villa and Millwall, it has shown Daniel Farke and his coaching team have worked hard on the team and made us hard to beat. Our aim was not to be beaten and if that was to frustrate Chris Wilder’s Blades and their fans, then so be it.

After early criticism of Daniel Farke, it appears he is starting to get his side to gel. After beating the Blades it was entertaining to hear Wilder’s comments. And the United fans were just as bitter on social media. Both Wilder and the Blades fans sounded like that child I was in the late 80s, blaming the other team for beating their team.

Sorry, Sheffield United, you were not good enough to beat a thoroughly professional performance from Norwich City.

So the next time a team come to Carrow Road and frustrate us as they pick up a result, maybe they deserve praise instead of whinging like Chris Wilder.

Bravo, Win or Die

Spud’s teaser answer: Norwich made their first ever substitution – Gordon Bolland came on in the 70th minute.

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